BMW ReachNow CEO Steve Banfield, who helped the German carmaker grow its car-sharing service in the U.S., is stepping down from the role, GeekWire has learned.
Banfield took the reins at ReachNow in 2016, one month after the service launched in Seattle. The former INRIX and Rightside executive oversaw expansion into Portland and New York, as well as new products such as ReachNow Ride, the company’s Uber competitor.
His departure comes as BMW and car2go-owner Daimler prepare to bring their urban mobility services under one roof. U.S. regulators approved the joint venture last month and European regulators approved the deal in November.
ReachNow employees were notified of the executive change this week. Here’s a full statement sent to GeekWire from a ReachNow spokesperson:
“As ReachNow prepares for the future within the new Joint Venture between the BMW Group and Daimler, it was decided to align leadership for the multi-modal vertical. Details will be announced at a later time. As a result of these changes, Steve Banfield will step down from his position as CEO of ReachNow effective after the deal closes. In his nearly three years with the company, Steve led our organization to many significant first’s, including becoming the first company to operate both car sharing and ride hailing within a single app now serving 100,000+ Members. We are grateful for his passionate leadership. Simon Broesamle (CCO) and Jean-Francois Ganot (CFO) will co-lead ReachNow’s day to day operations.”
Originally announced in March, the joint venture will create a new equally-owned mobility company that brings together various services used around the world, including Daimler’s car2go and BMW’s ReachNow car-sharing units in the U.S. It will also combine parking and electric vehicle charging services, as well as ride-hailing products that compete against companies such as Uber and Lyft.
car2go and ReachNow will operate a common fleet of BMW and Daimler vehicles, but car2go will focus on car-sharing while ReachNow will be used as part of a broader multi-modal transportation vision that combines car-sharing, ride-sharing, transit, and more.
Seattle was the launch city for ReachNow and is also home to the ReachNow North American headquarters. ReachNow operates a shared-car fleet of 720 vehicles in Seattle, in addition to hundreds of vehicles in Portland, Ore. It has more than 100,000 members. The company also launched in Brooklyn but shut down the free-floating service there last year.
Seattle is car2go’s largest market; it has 127,000 members in the city and more than 700 vehicles.
Lime, the fast-growing mobility startup valued at more than $1.1 billion, recently launched a pilot program for its own car-sharing service in Seattle.
BMW previously tested an electric car-sharing program called DriveNow in San Francisco, but shut it down in 2015 due to city regulations. BMW operates DriveNow services in Europe.
Editor’s note: This story and headline were updated to reflect that ReachNow and car2go will have different focuses as part of the joint venture.